Boston Bruins Causeway gameday! Atlantic rivals back from holiday

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 23: Erik Karlsson
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 23: Erik Karlsson /

The Boston Bruins will host the Ottawa Senators tonight in their first game back from the Christmas. This is the first matchup against these division rivals yet this season.

Prior to the holiday break, the Boston Bruins were red hot. In their last contest, they took care of business against the Detriot Red Wings. The Bruins entered a three-day break on a four-game win streak. So far in the month of December, they are 8-2-1. Dating back to November 16th, Boston is 13-3-1 in their last 17 games.

With a remarkable stretch of games during the last month and a half, the Bruins found themselves securely third in the Atlantic at the break. Coming into tonight, they are two points behind Toronto with three games in hand. Montreal is the next Atlantic team in line and the Bruins are seven points up on them with two-games in hand.

While playing this well may not be feasible all the way to the Spring, staying comfortably in an Atlantic divisional spot is key come playoff time. As it has been for most of the season, and will most likely stay this way, the Metro division seems to control the wild card spots.

First Game of Season Series

This is the first game this season between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators. The last time these two teams met was in the first round of the playoffs. We all know how that went. Ottawa defeated the Bruins in six games.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 23: Zdeno Chara /

The bright side? That Bruins lineup was beaten and battered and lacking a lot of important faces. There was a basically non-existent blue line due to injuries and a seriously depleting sense of hope.

Now, an almost fully healthy lineup, with plenty of rookie star power added to the mix and a red-hot team, a different outcome should come tonight.

The game tonight takes place at the TD Garden in Boston, MA.  It will begin at 7:00 pm and can be viewed on NESN and heard on 98.5 The Sports HUb.

Bruins Lineup

Adam McQuaid seemed to be nearing a return before the break. It will be interesting to see if he does, in fact, make a return tonight or during their three-game road trip spanning over New Years.

Boston Bruins
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 15: Adam McQuaid /

More from Causeway Crowd

In his absence, rookie Matt Grzelcyk has stepped up in a big way. The Bruins have done well defensively without him, many thanks to the young blue-liners, like Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy.

But, McQuaid’s return puts Bruce Cassidy in a position forced to make a strategic decision. Should they dress seven defensemen? Does he just swap out Grzelcyk and McQuaid? As long as the forwards continue to produce like they currently are, I believe the best move right now is to dress seven defensemen.

Adding McQuaid, but keeping the current set together, brings a stronger veteran force for teams to be aware of, but maintains the defensive and offensive success the current pairs seem to be finding.

As of now, there is no word on whether Tuukka Rask or Anton Khudobin will be between the pipes tonight. But, with the back to back, it is fair to say they will swap nights. Last week, Rask was named NHL’s first star of the week, rightfully so. His ability to find his game and be reliable between the pipes is a major reason for the Bruins recent success.

Boston Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak continue to produce. Pastrnak has 16 points in his last 15 games (five goals, 11 assists). He leads the team in points with 33. Brad Marchand is only a point behind him with 15 goals and 17 assists. Bergeron is third in line with 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists).

This line has only played 19 games together this season. As the three leaders in points on the team and consistent production across all three, this line is one of the best in the league.

Road Ahead

Boston did have a nice three-day holiday break, as did the rest of the league. But, as they jump back into the last few days of the calendar year, their schedule is by no means a nice present. Tonight is the first game of a back to back. Immediately after playing tonight, the team will head to DC to play the Capitals. Then, Saturday they will see the familiar faces of the Senators in Ottawa to round out 2017.

Next: Bruins Week 12: Charlie McAvoy is awesome

In the first week of the new year, the Boston Bruins have four games in seven days before heading into an early bye week.